Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Starbuck'd; BV Financing, sort of.

I’ve Been Starbuck’d

Twice, I’ve tried to meet with David Cristeal, in Arlington County’s housing division, to discuss the financing plans for the Buckingham Villages reconstruction. We almost met two nights ago at the Starbucks in Ballston Mall (Starbucks is an upscale coffee shop—maybe you’ve heard of them); that didn’t work though because he was at the Starbucks at the Ballston Metro stop. So last night, clear on which Starbucks was most convenient—the Metro Sbux—I arrived a little before the appointed time and waited, and waited, but then gave up apparently a few seconds too soon.

See, I thought two things. 1: I hadn’t checked my email to see if he’d written a note to cancel, and 2: what if we yet again weren’t as clear as I thought, and he was waiting at the mall Sbux? I couldn’t let him wait there for me wondering where I was, but then I thought what if he’s thinking the same of me, and is at this very moment rising from his seat to find me at the Metro store? Stuck, I waited, but didn’t want to wait until, despairing, he left the mall for home.
I checked with the barristas wondering if there were even more Sbux in the neighborhood. Of course there were, but nothing that would have been mistaken for the two stores I was thinking of, so I left for the mall, alas.

I received an email yesterday evening from Mr. Cristeal who said he’d arrived and wondered where I was. I must say publicly, I’m sorry.

Clearly we’ve been Starbuck’d.
The Onion, the best source of fake news on the web, once ran a story about Starbucks opening a Starbucks inside a Starbucks men’s room. At times, I think that was real news.

You, of course, realize that this wouldn’t have happened if we had a Dunkin’ Donuts in the neighborhood.

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Buckingham Village Financing

In order to retain 300 affordable units in Buckingham Villages 1 & 3, the county will have to subsidize construction of the units, and understanding the details gets complicated, given the tax credits and grants options out there. Rather than spew wrong or vague information at you I’ll just wait until I can sit down with people, like David Cristeal, from the county to talk to about this.

My big question about the financing stems from the county board meeting of Oct. 18. The board, basically, looked at selling units in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in order to help moderate-income people buy units in BV, among other affordable housing projects.

The last I knew, none of the apartment units in a reconstructed BV are to be condos; everything will be rentals. Earlier plans listed the “Octopus” building (see the Oct. 1 and 29 posts) as being a condo, but by the Site Plan Review Committee meeting in September, presenters from Paradigm Development Corp., changed that to apartments.

The only units for sale in BV1 will be the townhouses, at market rate. The townhouses Paradigm is building across N. George Mason Drive in BV2 are listed on their signs as starting at the low, low bargain-basement price of $750,000.

I can’t believe the county is thinking of helping moderate-income people buy townhouses worth three-quarters of a million dollars. I must be missing something. So I will find out.

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